Climate change and fire suppression: drivers of fire regimes and ecological responses at actionable scales
Climate change and human actions, such as fire suppression, have altered fuel characteristics and fire regimes in watersheds across western North America. As the climate continues to change, it grows increasingly urgent to develop tools for forecasting future fire activity and to anticipate how changes in fire activity will affect ecosystem and watershed function, including processes such as nutrient cycling, carbon retention, and streamflow. My research examines how wildfire regimes are changing across the west and in turn, how these changes influence plants, soils, hydrology, and the interactions among them. In this talk, I will discuss some of my current research projects as they relate to the following three questions: (1) how have climate change and human activities influenced fire regimes in western North America, (2) how do shifting fire regimes alter biogeochemical and ecohydrological processes, and (3) what can we expect in the future?
Dr. Erin Hanan
Assistant Professor of Fire Ecology
University of Nevada, Reno
Erin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno in the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She leads the Fire and Dryland Ecosystems Lab at UNR, which examines how climate change and management activities influence fire regimes and how shifting fire regimes affect ecosystem and watershed processes. Her lab uses both empirical analysis and modeling to understand wildfire drivers and effects at scales ranging from individual soil cores to ecoregions. Erin earned her PhD at UCSB in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology in 2015, and worked for two years as postdoc at Washington State University prior to starting her current position at UNR in 2018.